Finding hope for the body and mind

On Monday evening, the Eating Disorder Awareness Coalition (EDAC) put on an event intended to envoke emotion, inspiration and hope surrounding the rising issue of eating disorders.

A crowd of people gathered at KW Counseling Services to hear those on the path to recovery, loved ones affected by those with an eating disorder and citizens searching for help.

Kathryn Barratt, executive director of EDAC, explained that “[the event is meant to] provide connections, provide inspirations and links to resources of people that can help their journey.”

Established 15 years ago, EDAC is a volunteer-driven charity of about 100 volunteers committed to improving the lives of people affected by eating disorders, weight preoccupation and size prejudice through delivering education and prevention programs, building a supportive community and providing referrals to treatment and resources.

Receiving about 600 calls a year from those affected by the disease, EDAC is a prominent organization in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.   

During the event on Monday, Dani Cadieux, a third-year human kinetics and psychology student at the University of Guelph, explained that her eating disorder began in high school but she never admitted it at the time.

“It’s something that kind of snuck up on me,” said Cadieux. “Everyone around me noticed, but they never thought it would be an eating disorder.”

By Cadieux’s first year of university, she felt that her life was completely out of control.

“Going through treatment is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said Cadieux on finally getting the help she needed.

Now still recovering, Cadieux is able to enjoy life more and do what she loves, including ultimate Frisbee.

Cathy Menard, the mother of an eating disorder victim, talked about her daughter Laura, who at the age of 26 was in critical condition.

Menard admitted, “I was scared … this challenge can be daunting but it is also one that must be met.”

Menard explained that before finding help, her daughter’s eating disorder became a constant companion, something she was completely good at and possessed by.

The message conveyed by all the event participants was that it is important to know that no one is alone in this issue and eating disorders are not an illness by choice.

Children as young as seven years old up to middle-age women are victims of this disease, displaying the need for more education to the public.

“They don’t have to hide from it [and with that], recovery from an eating disorder is possible,” Barratt stated.